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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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Claim CE001:

The radioactive decay of several elements produces helium, which migrates to the atmosphere. There is too little helium in the atmosphere to account for the amount that would have been produced in 4.5 billion years. Escape of helium into space is not sufficient to account for the lack.


Morris, Henry M., 1974. Scientific Creationism, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, pp. 150-151.


  1. Helium is a very light atom, and some of the helium in the upper atmosphere can reach escape velocity simply via its temperature. Thermal escape of helium alone is not enough to account for its scarcity in the atmosphere, but helium in the atmosphere also gets ionized and follows the earth's magnetic field lines. When ion outflow is considered, the escape of helium from the atmosphere balances its production from radioactive elements (Lie-Svendsen and Rees 1996).


Matson, Dave E., 1994. How good are those young-earth arguments?


  1. Lie-Svendsen, O. and M. H. Rees, 1996. Helium escape from the terrestrial atmosphere - the ion outflow mechanism. Journal of Geophysical Research 101: 2435-2443.

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created 2001-2-18